Top 3 places to Digital Detox in Vancouver

No we dont have wirelessAre you one of the 68% of people according to Time’s mobility poll that bring their phone to bed? If so this one’s for you.

The phrase “digital detox” is making the rounds this week. First, there was news about the opening of Japanese Internet fasting camps for the nation’s thousands of web-addicted teens. Then, the US announced its first ever in-hospital treatment program for really serious web addicts in Pennsylvania. Finally, the phrase was granted official entry into the Oxford Dictionary (online dictionary, that is):

digital detox (n): a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical worldbreak free of your devices and go on a digital detox 


I Can’t Put My Stupid Phone Down

Turns out, we’ve got a bigger problem than CNN alerts waking us up in the middle of the night. In seeking to intensify our level of connectedness (by scanning, browsing, refreshing), it seems we’ve found ourselves, instead, in a disturbing state of disconnect. We email instead of call. We text instead of email. And, according to a study cited by, “the mere sight of a smartphone limits how humans interact–impeding the development of interpersonal closeness and trust and leading people to feel less empathy and understanding.”


Overcoming your Digital Addiction

Lucky for us, there’s a movement of people trying to save us from our email-checking and Facebook-refreshing ways.  They’re rounding up the red-eyed texters and analytics junkies and providing them with opportunities to unplug. 

So, what does a digital detox entail? So far, we’ve seen week-long summer camps for adults, smartphone drop-boxes at popular hotel chains, and a recommendation for to-do lists with nothing to do.  Most importantly though, it’s about people helping people combat digital disease and its nasty e-ffects: lack of attention, stress, anxiety, sedentary lifestyles, loneliness and more.


Start Small: Take a Digital Breather

While we wait for Camp Grounded to franchise in Vancouver, let’s try to remember some of the small ways we can integrate a digital breather into our daily lives. After all, the scheduling of a week-long retreat (not to mention the loads of LinkedIn follow-ups you’d have to do the week after) is not the point. The point is to break free from device reliance and to reconnect with our surroundings. And where better place to start than right here in Vancouver? Here are 3 of my favourite spots in Vancouver to disconnect to reconnect:

  1. Dr. Sun Yet-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – Leave your iPhone at home and journey back to 15th century China. The only bounce-back you’ll get here is the reflection of ancient pavilions in the surface of a Jade Green pond. 578 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC
  2. Earnest Ice Cream Scoop Shop There’s nothing high-speed about small-batch ice cream made with local milk, cream, and whole food ingredients. Originally pedaled around town in their innovative cycle-freezer (bike), the Earnest gang is now hawking pints inside four walls worth of old school fun. 3992 Fraser St. (at 23rd Ave.) Vancouver, BC 
  3. Regional Assembly of Text: If you’ve tossed your gadgets aside, but still feel the urge to type, why not pull up a chair at one of the antique typewriters on offer at the Regional Assembly of Texts’ monthly letter writing club? You can tap to your hearts’ content on crisp white paper included at no extra cost. The Letter Writing Club runs the first Thursday of every month at 7pm. 3934 Main Street, Vancouver, BC


What are your favourite ways to take a digital breather? Do you make a point to leave your phone at home or are you ‘on’ 24/7?